Canarian captain Grant Hanley congratulates Kieran Dowell after the opening of the competition in Derby
– Photo credit: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Ltd.
The promotion party may have been delayed, but a return to the Premier League is far from certain for Norwich City after a 1-0 win in Derby County.
Kieran Dowell had a nice free kick in the first half gave the leaders the edge, but Derby made the Canaries work really hard for their 11th win in 13 games.
Big news came before kick-off when Swansea won 3-0 in the early game at Millwall to ensure that City’s promotional party wouldn’t be at Pride Park if it won.
However, the front runners always had to win to get that happening, and of course still had a title to play after Watford Reading Friday night to temporarily narrow the gap to five points.
It was no surprise that Daniel Farke named an unchanged squad after beating Huddersfield 7-0 on Carrow Road in the middle of the week. This was the largest profit margin in a second division game in City history.
The injured hosts had former Canarian loaners Patrick Roberts and Andre Wisdom on their team, but with only one win out of nine games they looked ahead Still nervously kicking off their eight-point cushion on the bottom three.
Kenny McLean deflected a shot for the guests in the fourth minute after Dimitris Giannoulis had well controlled a pass from Emi Buendia.
Derby had booked three players within the first 20 minutes of battling the leaders. Dowell threw a free-kick into the side-netting.
However, the former Everton midfielder made no mistake with his free-kick in the 21st minute after taking possession of Craig Forsyth and charging forward before hitting the left-back to the right of the D . was overthrown.
Dowell, who was limited to 10 games on loan at Derby for the first half of last season, beautifully rolled the free kick into the top right corner with his dangerous left foot, leaving the former Norwich number one , David Marshall, watching helplessly.
It was a third goal in five games for Dowell and his fourth goal of the season after missing three months of the first half of the season with an ankle injury.
However, the Rams began to play in Game take hold. Former Ipswich midfielder Tom Lawrence only shot wide and good blocks from Grant Hanley and Andrew Omobamidele needed before the break.
Teemu Pukki nodded a cross from Todd Cantwell and a small attempt from Dowell followed an exciting attack also failed.
A competitive half ended 1-0 against City, but midfielders Oliver Skipp and Kenny McLean were busy and had to abandon derby attacks when the lower Rams showed their spirit.
This continued after the break, with Hanley’s strength being used more than once and Tim Krul being forced to parry to deny a shot from Teden Mengi after a corner.
Dowell’s shot from a low cross was made by Giannoulis deflected on Marshall in the 56th minute, but when Buendia hobbled around after several challenges and both Dowell and Skipp were more easily guilty of losing the ball, Farke decided that it was time to act.
Buendia and Dowell were replaced by Marco Stiepermann and Przemek Placheta in the 63rd minute, but the city’s head coach remained an extremely upset man on the sidelines when the attacks tamely collapsed.
Krul had to go low to stop Roberts’ shot in the box in the 74th minute, and substitute Louie Sibley fired a low shot from 20 yards that kept the leaders looking tense.
Stiepermann started, Pukki more and also crossed a Max Aarons header that fell wide, but it was Jordan Hugill for Pukki who had five minutes left as the visitors tried to calm things down.
Krul claimed a free kick from Roberts good, but the game was in a bad mess and Hanley continued to control things in the background as City reclaimed more possession against the tiresome hosts.
There was almost a disastrous ending, however e for City, as it took Krul too long to clear an Omobamidele pass and was robbed by Colin Kazim-Richards, only Graham Shinnie went up in flames with the leaders who were fighting desperately.
The victory extended the City’s unbeaten run in 13 games, with only four longer unbeaten runs in the second division in the club’s history.
It also dismissed the Premier League team to wait for 90 points – although not yet mathematically confirmed – which is only the third time in the history of the Canary Islands that this sum has been reached.
With five games still to be played, the club record of 94 points at this level, which was achieved in 2004 and 2019, is very easy to achieve .
Attention is now turned to Tuesday night when Swansea will be disqualified as rivals for City if they fail to win their game in Sheffield on Wednesday, before City’s promotion possibly coming Saturday stag will be decided.
After Brentford won 5-0 at Preston, they returned to third place, 17 points behind the leaders, Swansea to 18, meaning that it would take a maximum of two points to finish the job.
On Saturday, Swans hosts Wycombe, Brentford Millwall and runner-up Watford in Luton will all chat at 3 p.m. before City hosts Bournemouth at 8 p.m.
DERBY (4-2-3-1) : Marshall (C); McDonald (Ebosele 84), Wisdom, Mengi, Forsyth; Shinnie, bird; Roberts, Lawrence (Watson 84), Jozwiak (Sibley 69); Kazim-Richards. Unused submarines: Roos (GK), Bateman, Buchanan, Baningime, Knight, Shonibare
Booked: Shinnie (foul on Cantwell, 11), Bird (foul on McLean, 15), Forsyth (foul on Dowell, 20 ), Roberts (foul on Cantwell, 68)
NORWICH (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Omobamidele, Hanley (C), Giannoulis; Skipp, McLean; Buendia (Placheta 63), Dowell (Stiepermann 63), Cantwell (Tettey 89); Pukki (Hugill 85). Unused submarines: Nyland (GK), Mumba, Sorensen, Vrancic, Hernandez
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